It was a see-saw battle as votes were counted in McPhillips, but Progressive Conservative candidate Shannon Martin narrowly defeated New Democrate Greg McFarlane with an unofficial total of 3,307 votes against McFarlane’s 3,202 in the closest race of the Manitoba election.
"It’s a bit overwhelming," Martin said shortly after the final poll results were tallied. "But I was optimistic that my team did everything we could. It’s one for the ‘win’ column."
The two frontrunners were followed by Liberal John Cacayuran with 1,476 votes, Green Party candidate Jason Smith with 406 votes and Manitoba First’s Dave Wheeler with 237.
Martin, 48, was first elected in a 2014 byelection, then was re-elected in 2016 as MLA for the former Morris constituency. He will now represent the new constituency of McPhillips created from areas that were formerly in the St. Paul and Kildonan constituencies.
A La Salle resident and father of three, Martin served as the co-chair of Manitoba’s Red Tape Reduction Task Force.
It was a different sort of campaign for Martin, used to representing rural communities, but he said knocking on doors in urban neighbourhoods was easier as he was able to cover more ground quicker. He estimates that he campaigned at over 15,000 homes.
"I look forward to waking up tomorrow as the representative for McPhillips," Martin said on his way to celebrate his victory at PC headquarters.
There he will join fellow Progressive Conservative candidate in Roblin, Myrna Driedger who was elected to a seventh term as MLA.
Driedger easily defeated second-place NDP candidate Sophie Brandt-Murenzi, Liberal candidate Michael Bazak, and Green Party candidate Kevin Nichols.
Community journalist — The Headliner
Andrea Geary is the community journalist for The Headliner. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org Call her at 204-697-7124